Bowery Mural

UCI Track World Cup, Glasgow

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

I'd waited on this weekend to arrive for months. Only a few months mind, but it felt like longer. This weekend I attended the UCI Track World Cup cycling event at the new Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome in Glasgow's east end. Oh man i was sooooo excited for it.
Sunrise from the railway bridge in Stirling
I headed on the train early to catch the very handy free shuttle bus from Buchanan Street bus station to the venue. I haven't done this journey so wasn't sure how long it would take. Turns out it was only about 15-20 minutes as there was some traffic. On arriving in the area I remembered it well. It's been a couple of years since I've been to the football at Celtic Park. The velodrome sits directly across the London Road from Celtic Park. Together they are a formidable sight. The Emirates Arena houses the velodrome incidentally.

I leaped off the bus and headed up the staircase where we were greeted by cheery 'gamesmaker' types at the front door in nice pink jackets. A welcome surprise on this sunny but chilly morning.

Once inside the foyer area it wasn't that big for a venue that will see thousands come through it's door at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. But hey it was was fairly quiet. In the middle there was a refreshment concession that served drinks, pizza, hot dogs, popcorn(?) and crisps. Thankfully Golden Wonder (good choice). It wasn't too badly priced either i thought. £1.20 for a 500ml bottle of Cola, £1 for a small tea/coffee. Pretty decent. The hot dogs however were £4.50 - i don't eat them so wasn't sure if this was expensive or not. they were pretty huge though.

I headed into the velodrome and wow... First thing that struck me was how small it was.  I mean, I'm not sure what I expected but the track was small to me. Perhaps it was because the cyclists were flying around it at speed that made it seem small.
iPhone Panorama of the venue
I found my seat (a great seat on the start finish straight) about 4 rows from the front. The place started to fill up, which made it seem hotter than it's 26 degrees. There were a variety of spectators gathered. Mums, dads, kids, babies, boys, girls. The people I was sat beside were pretty friendly too, bonus. A few Twitter exchanges and I managed to spy @Pyllon busy doing some work in the track centre.

The action was happening at a pace. Not too long to wait between races. Good stuff. The daytime session was the qualifying for later rounds. Men's, Women's sprints, keirin, omnium and lots of different nationalities.

The noise rose when a Team GB rider appeared. It was amazing to see competitive cycling up close like this. And Olympic and World champions among them to boot! Wonderful.

Behind my seating zone was the BBC commentary position hosting Chris Boardman and Hugh Porter - the cycling commentary voices I've grown up with. High up to the right hand side of the start straight was the BBC TV commentary position. It's not all glamorous. Scaffolding! In the seat was Jonathan Edwards and Craig McLean.

On track Laura Trott was going through rounds of her Omnium. She's currently the World Champion at that. Jason Kenny was safely through his round of the men's keirin which was see him race later at night. Can't wait.

In the middle - track centre - i spied the GB area. They were all there. The riders, the coaches and the guys who work behind the scenes fixing the bikes, going through each step with precision. I needed a toilet break so headed up the back and there i spied David Brailsford himself. I'm not that bold as to ask for a picture with them so instead, what you have here is the back of his distinctive head! :)

He really is a legend, not only masterminding several Olympic champions but also, this year, Britain's Tour De France winning Team Sky. Wowsers.

Back to the action and i couldn't stop taking pictures all the while conscious of the fact the Instagram really runs your iPhone battery down low. I had to ration it's use. The racing for the daytime finished around 4.30pm so i headed back on the bus into Glasgow to grab a bit to eat and charge my phone. Thankfully i found myself in Eat which had both a plug and a panini to see me through.

Back to the evening session. I had chosen different seats. The back straight this time. Right in the middle and in the front row. AMAZING. I kid you not, you could feel the backdraft whooshing past when the men's scratch race was taking place. The phone and camera took a battering too!
I even caught the aftermath of Jason Kenny's fall, which he tweeted later on!! Thanks Jason!

Ouch. Jason Kenny after his fall in the Keirin heats
I'd decided i didn't want to hang around Glasgow on a dark November Saturday night so i left the venue around 9.40pm to get the bus back in time for the 10.18pm train. I'd be home around 11.15pm. Sorted. Or rather it was until the Stagecoach bus driver got us lost so much we almost ended up on the M8 motorway going east. Thankfully a passenger put him right and I found myself jumping off the bus and sprinting down North Hanover Street to catch the train. It was 10.16pm, and a long shot but i tried. I got to the station and missed the train by 2 minutes. I could've cried, real tears too. Grrrrrrr to the stupid driver. I had a half hour wait on the next one. Driving home the stars and planets in the sky were so clear. Driving into the village I caught my very first shooting star. It was bright and cheered me up again. I was so knackered when i got home that I fell asleep in anticipation of the next day.

Sunday saw me rise earlier, and drive to Glasgow this time. I got there dead on 9am and parked in Buchanan Galleries, £3 all day on a Sunday, and I wouldn't need to worry about catching a train later. The bus took us to the venue in short time as there was less traffic. Caught the bus and headed into the track. This time it was a little empty. Only to be expected. But the action was just beginning and it was the heats of the women's keirin and men's sprints. The big guns. Sadly Jason Kenny wasn't racing due to last nights crash but young Philip Hindes was. As were Jess Varnish, Becky James and Laura Trott.

Philip Hindes after a little meeting with the boards - ouch, again.
The omnium time trial (women's) saw Laura Trott do a superb ride and immediately after she got off her bike, she almost threw up over in the waiting area. After a wee lie down for 10 minutes she was back up and on a col down/warm up for the final race that would come later. What a champ!

A little check on Twitter and the @TrackWorldCup account told me that the man himself was in the building. Sir Chris Hoy of course! He was interviewed in the track centre by Dougie Vipond but not before they played a film of all of his Olympic and Commonwealth medals over the years. It was really emotional but great to be reminded of them. And he looked so young in 2004!

Sir Chris and the Deacon Blue drummer...
As each race passed the atmosphere grew as the velodrome filled up. We were now on the afternoon (and sadly the final) session of an amazing weekend. I snapped away photo after photo and soaked it all in. then came the final race in the women's omnium. Could Laura Trott snatch victory from the Australian girl Ankudinoff? You bet she could! Brilliant rider she is.
Trott, before her final race of the weekend. So tiny, but so strong!
Laura Trott receives her Gold medal.
Next up was the men's sprint. Germany V Germany. who would win? Would it be he of the gigantic thighs, Robert Foerstemann or would it be Stefan Boetticher?.... It was Boetticher, surprisingly! I ventured around to the bend to try to catch a few pics on the ramp. Man it was steep. This picture kind of shows it...
Foerstemann in front, Boetticher behind
Now it was time for me to head home after a thoroughly brilliant weekend. I was on cloud nine after my first live cycling event. I'll be back. But I won't go before telling you who else was there, at the end of my row... Redbull trickster himself, Danny Macaskill. I didn't have the guts to go and ask for a photo but plenty of kids did. He was very accommodating too. Nice to see. He seemed really quite shy at one point when Dougie Vipond was over hassling him for a wee interview. Head in hands and beetroot red face at one point. Wee shame.
Danny Macaskill, with Sir Chris Hoy in the background in the BBC commentary position
If I had to choose I'd pick rows D to H of any of the zones. Front row was great but the metal railing around the barrier got in the way when snapping away.

Between each race and the riders coming to the start, a musical soundtrack was played. Good pumping tunes. My only complaint was that it could've been a little bit louder to get the crowd going more. Nonetheless the atmosphere all weekend was great.

I had the best weekend. The volunteers were nice and helpful. The venue was really great. The racing was fab. And I can only imagine what the atmosphere will be like at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. I for one cannot wait. Thanks to everyone involved in that weekend. And to the @TrackWorldCup tweeter, great tweets. And to British Cycling for my heavily male orientated members goodie bag! Anyone want some Adidas mens shower gel?!... haha.

Angela x


  1. Read this with a smile on my face all the way through. Brilliant photo of Laura Trott lining up for the TT!

    1. Thank you Mike. It was a great weekend. Laura Trott is brilliant.


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